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Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers. Julia King Tamang × LERN × TACE 2009 × [email protected] The ultimate stress book. Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers: Stress, Performance & Coping — Robert Sapolsky, PhD Professor of Biological Sciences and Neurology at Stanford University.

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Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers

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Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers

Julia King Tamang × LERN × TACE 2009 × [email protected]

The ultimate stress book

Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers: Stress, Performance & Coping

—Robert Sapolsky, PhD

Professor of Biological Sciences and Neurology

at Stanford University

The zebra and the lion

The zebra’s stress lasts

about 3 minutes.

You and me

Homeostasis – the ideal state

  • A systemic balance continually regulated by bodily mechanism

  • When you receive a stressor, it knocks you out of homeostatic balance

7 stress responses designed to save your life

  • 1. Mobilization of Energy

  • 2. Increased Cardiovascular Tone

  • 3. Suppression of Digestion

  • 4. Suppression of Growth

  • 5. Suppression of Reproduction

  • 6. Suppression of Immune System

  • 7. Sharpening of Cognition

Whether you need it or not!

So, how are you still alive?

  • Sapolsky wanted to know, so he ran experiments on rats.

    • The rat, like a human, could recover from a stressor if there was

      • An outlet or support for the irritation experienced

      • A sense of predictability or control

      • A perception that the situation might improve

      • Social support

What else about humans?

The second most important predictor of mortality is degree of social connectedness.

Studies show a threefold difference in life-length for people who have a strong social network.

When we want stress

  • Humans find mild and transient stress stimulating

    • A challenge

    • Tickling

    • A poker game

    • A scary movie

  • Mild stress creates increased dopamine levels—which can be addictive

Stress addiction

  • Enjoyable stress produces dopamine, which is pleasurable

    • But the dopamine levels decrease over time

    • Then, it takes even more stress to create the same pleasurable experience

  • Especially when people feel they are relatively safe

    • Like roller coasters and fun houses at Halloween

The traits of stress hardiness

  • You can tell the difference between things that are threatening and things that are neutral

  • You do not feel immediately helpless when threatened – you have a sense of efficacy

The traits of stress hardiness

  • You can tell when you have won or lost – you can tell if an outcome is good or bad

  • You do not tend to mope over loss

The baboon fountain of youth

  • Baboons who had these traits outlived their cohort by up to three years

    • Baboons can live for up to 45 years

Who ages well?

  • How society treats you helps determine how well you age

    • For example, in Africa, older people show little sign of geriatric depression, as opposed to here, even though their general circumstances are worse

    • But in Africa, elders have a respected and defined role

    • People aspire to this role throughout their lives

    • Elders are neither isolated nor disrespected

Which humans cope well?

  • Those who have a paradigm to make sense of things

    • Like religion, science, art or philosophy

  • Those who can compartmentalize stress into real, but manageable parts

  • Those who are not in denial do best in the long run

When control helps

  • In a study, doctors discovered that patients who had unlimited access to pain medications actually took less

  • Nursing home patients who had plants to care for had fewer emergency needs

  • Having more access to info about what will happen to you creates fewer medical difficulties

So ask yourself, “Is there a lion or not?”

  • When you’re stressed, ask

    • Is there danger or not?

    • Can I realistically do anything?

    • If so, what?

    • Can I make sense of this?

    • Do I have control?

    • Can I learn more about this?

A few more tips on stress hardiness

The Four A’s

  • Avoid the stressor

  • Alter the stressor

  • Adapt to the stressor

  • Accept the stressor

Avoid the stressor

  • Learn how to say “no”

  • Avoid people who stress you out

  • Take control of your environment

  • Avoid hot-button topics

  • Pare down your to-do list

Alter the situation

  • Express your feelings, don’t bottle them up.

  • Be willing to compromise.

  • Be more assertive.

  • Manage your time better.

Adapt to the stressor

  • Reframe problems.

  • Look at the big picture.

  • Adjust your standards.

  • Focus on the positive.

Accept things you can’t change

  • Don’t try to control the uncontrollable.

  • Look for the upside.

  • Share your feelings.

  • Learn to forgive.

The hope for a better past will never yield a stress reducing outcome

And a secret about resting stress free

May I help?

[email protected]


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